Canine Joint Supplements Are Just That – SUPPLEMENTS!

Just like humans, as our dogs get older, they get to the point where the mind is willing but the body isn’t quite as able!  

Not surprisingly it’s the joints that take the brunt of it, as they have to support the body 24/7, whether at work, play or relaxing. I know that our glucosamine-chondroitin-MSM based supplement for dogs helps alleviate the pain and increases the flexibility in damaged or arthritic joints. 

Unfortunately, many people think they are being kind to their ageing, aching pooch by curbing their exercise and giving them a supplement to help ease the pain, without realizing that they could actually be making things worse for the pet they love so much. Joint supplements MUST go hand in hand (or paw in paw!) with exercise, which is so important to break the vicious circle of joint decay. 

In addition, there are other things you can do to help take the strain off your old faithful’s joints and prevent painful accidents that could worsen their condition. 

So, if you’ve got an ageing pooch suffering with stiffness or arthritis, or one that has previously undergone surgery for broken bones or torn ligaments, please check out the top tips below and see if you can help stop your furry best friend suffering in silence. 

Top Tips to Help Ease Your Dog’s Painful Joints 

⋅ Exercise for shorter periods but at regular intervals
Exercise is so important to break the vicious circle of joint decay.  
Pain reduces mobility, which leads to muscle wastage and weakening of the surrounding ligaments and tendons; the joints then become less stable, leading to more wear & tear, more joint decay and more pain. 
Exercise is therefore essential to keep the muscle tone necessary to support the joints, prevent the decay from worsening and lessen their pain. 
Keep your fido active but take care not to over exert – your veterinarian will be able to advise you on the length and frequency of exercise based on your furry friend’s condition. 

⋅ Provide a cushioned bed and position away from drafts

Most dogs sleep 12 hours a day.  Ease your pet’s pain by adding extra fleece or blankets to their bed, and be sure to keep their bed away from windows and other drafty locations.

⋅ Apply a warm water bottle for 15 minutes twice a day

This relaxes the muscles and also promotes blood circulation for faster healing. You can easily tuck one under their blanket when they go to rest after exercise and believe me, dogs love this comfort just as much as us humans!

⋅ Help them with obstacles and heights  

So they can continue to enjoy their exercise and woodland walks, why not treat them to a harness coat with a strong handle, so you can help them out of water, lift them over obstacles like fallen trees, in and out of vehicles and up steps, without putting pressure on painful joints. Also, attaching the leash to the harness provides more control, helps to stop them pulling and relieves strain on their neck. Another great bonus is the harness will help keep them dry, warm and promote good blood circulation at the same time!  

Jumping up onto porches or even into the car trunk can be even more difficult and painful, as they put more weight on their hind legs. For larger dogs, lifting them up may not be an option if they are too heavy for you (or you may be suffering from aching joints yourself!) In this case a ramp is an ideal solution to provide a gradient they can manage and help you at the same time. 

⋅ Provide traction on slippery floors

Dogs, especially those with hip dysplasia, often have a hard time on slippery floors, such as vinyl, polished wood, tile or laminate, so lay carpet down or put a pet gate to keep them out of the area.
If your dog doesn’t travel in a crate, then you can install carpet or a non-slip liner on the back seat or cargo area of larger vehicles, SUVs, station wagons and vans, to provide better stability for your 4-legged friend and prevent them from being thrown around when you’re on the move.  

⋅  Hydrotherapy

Swimming allows the natural movement of muscles and joints in a buoyant environment and helps to build muscle around diseased joints, which in turn relieves the pressure on them when walking or running. The water’s warmer too so blood vessels can do their job properly, supplying healing nutrients to muscles and skin. It certainly helped my dog’srecovery from a cruciate ligament operation and it’s also a fun way to help a slightly porky pooch lose weight!  

Important: Ask your veterinarian about your dog’s suitability for hydrotherapy, just in case there’s a valid reason why they should not swim. 

 ⋅ Massage

Massagethe muscles around your dog’s hip joints, gently rubbing in a circular motion with your fingertips for ten minutes at the most. BUT pay attention to your companion’s response – If massage seems to irritate your dog’s hip, don’t continue. 

⋅ Healthy Balanced Diet

Weight control is very important as extra weight puts more stress on the joints. A FidoActive supplement nugget can be given as a healthy treat instead of their normal titbits, so your best friend won’t think they’re in the ‘dog house’!

⋅  Positioning of feeding stations

Dog arthritis can be prevalent in any major joint; if your dog has shoulder or neck pain, raise up their water and food dishes so they don’t have to bend over. 

⋅ Keep your dog out of damp, chilly weather

It’s not actually the cold and wet that causes the problem but fluid pressure within the joint. It’s the drop in atmospheric pressure that allows the joint tissues to swell, causing stiffness and discomfort. It’s not always possible to walk your dog at the most favorable times of the day, so just make sure they are kept warm or maybe consider indoor alternatives.

⋅ Regular Check-ups

Remember to schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian – not all conditions are visible to the eye in the early stages and you could save your best friend a lot of unnecessary pain.

I hope you find some of these tips help you to manage your dog’s pain and also help them enjoy a more active and happier life. 

 

 

 

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health – always!

Honoring Our Brave and Loyal K9 Veterans

Canine military dogs are worth their weight in gold!

13 March has been annotated as an ‘unofficial’ day in our National calendar, to honor and commemorate all the amazing K9 veterans who have served us and our country well.

These courageous canines don’t volunteer, they are simply drafted, yet their loyalty and bravery knows no bounds, and they gladly put their lives on the line to protect their human service buddies and brothers in arms.

At the time of writing, there are over 2500 of our furry friends in active duty, with around 700 of them deployed in foreign countries.

The roles they perform are as diverse as the breeds that are enlisted for service, ranging from German Shepherds, to Golden Retrievers to Spaniels. But they were not trained to kill; they were trained to save lives, with roles including: transporting medical supplies, search & rescue (on land & sea!), sentries, messengers, clearing buildings, explosives detection, tracking, tunnelling, narcotics inspections, customs and border protection and even pulling telephone wires under airfields and mined tunnels – to name just a few!

So they have duties during periods of both war and peace. What’s more is they do it far more accurately than any other available military equipment! They were an invaluable resource at the Ground Zero search and rescue and these professional pooches are a familiar sight in their “hi-viz” vests at airports and other transport hubs.

Just like normal dog training, these specialized skills are acquired through a reward-based program. However, it made me chuckle when Army Col. David Rolfe (Director of the Defense Department’s Military Working Dog Program) said “We learned long ago that food works only so long. What the dog really wants you to do is play with it.”

So, for these canines “their positive rewards are generally a ball or rubber toy rather than food”, while treat-filled puzzle toys provide comfort after “aggression” training exercises and stimulation for their incredibly active minds.

A fully trained military dog has a “worth” over $150,000 – but these four-legged brothers and sisters in arms are valuable not just for their service. They provide peace of mind for their fellow troops and bravely put their life on the line 24/7 for their human handlers– that’s priceless!

Without a doubt, these dogs are among our most effective counter measures against terrorists and explosives.

I think Rolfe summed it up brilliantly when he said “Dogs possess something a machine probably never will: immense loyalty and a desire to please. A machine doesn’t care if it finds something, but a dog wants to please its handler. A dog will go looking for something on its own where a machine won’t.”

The bottom line, he said, is that “dogs have a heart — something that makes them an invaluable asset to our fighting forces.”

So especially today, our thoughts go out to our wonderful, brave K-9 Military. Thanks for helping keep our great country safe – we owe you a debt beyond words.

What you may be surprised to learn is that many of these special dogs are taken from rescue shelters and it costs more than $15000 to train them for special, and particularly life-threatening duties, all over the world. They have super-human eyesight, hearing and sense of smell, which makes them an invaluable member of any team.

They work 60 hours a week, with on-call shifts of 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – but they don’t receive a paycheck, to go towards their retirement or pay for meds to ease the pain of arthritis, a common condition as a result of their intense and physical work demands!

It doesn’t bear thinking about that, until 2000, these military working dogs were simply viewed as “surplus equipment” and it was legal and common practice to abandon or put down military working dogs at the end of their useful service.

Thankfully, the law changed and now there is a requirement to repatriate them and priority for their adoption is given to their previous handler to see out their retirement with their best friend.

Sadly, this isn’t always the case; often their handler is simply unable to take their service buddy home with them.  We can only imagine the desolation and confusion those loyal dogs suffer, being separated from their team and their devoted handlers.

The good news is that many of these special animals are eligible for adoption and are placed into appropriate and loving homes. So, if you think you could provide a happy retirement home for one of these loyal 4-legged patriots, you can learn more about it here:

About military working dog adoptions

…and finally

I would just like to say thanks to the late Joe White, founder of the K9 Veteran Day tribute, for bringing this plight to our attention and reminding us that these K9 Veterans “Served to Save, and they deserve to be remembered”.

We salute each and every one of you!

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health and keep each other safe!

 

 

Helen Broadley & the FidoActive Team

FidoActive also supports the amazing work of many community rescue shelters across the USA through product donations, to help get their furry residents in tip-top condition whilst waiting for their forever home. 

You can find out more about FidoActive on their website www.fidoactive.com 

 

 

Fido means faithful & loyal– a quality that your dog gives unconditionally

Active is what we want every dog to be!

 

 

Don’t Let Furry Festive Antics Turn into a Medical Trauma!

Christmas Trees

 The fragrance of a real pine/spruce tree is lovely but just be aware that they can actually cause your dog mouth and stomach irritation because they contain mildly toxic oils, so be sure they are not chewing the branches or trunk.

 Do regular clean ups when the tree starts sheds its needles, to avoid them getting stuck in your pet’s paws, throat or intestines.

 Trees are often treated with preservatives to limit needle loss, insecticides or flame retardants and many have a sweet taste to dogs, so particularly tempting but toxic if ingested. Consider putting a tree skirt around the base of the tree, especially if there is a water base, to prevent them from drinking the liquid.

 Stabilize the tree in a sturdy stand to be sure it can’t be knocked over and potentially hurt a child or pet playing or laying under the tree. You can make it extra foolproof by also securing with string to a wall or window, but high enough up so out of chewing range.

 

Decorations

Let’s face it, dogs love to chew and there are lots more enticing things to get their teeth into at Christmas, so here are a few tips to keep them out of harm’s way:

 Avoid edible decorations. Even if you think you’ve placed them high enough to be out of temptation’s way, your dog’s super-human sense of smell will sniff them out and will encourage them to jump or climb to get to the tasty treat, by whatever means possible!

 Chocolate is extremely toxic to dogs and affects the nervous and urinary systems, causing symptoms ranging from diarrhea to seizures and death.

 Popcorn, raisin and cranberry garlands have added dangers: raisins are toxic to dogs and can cause kidney damage plus the thread can cause an obstruction in the intestine.

And remember, many sweet treats contain xylitol (artificial sweetener) which is toxic to dogs. So, better to be safe than sorry and just keep these dangerous temptations off the decorations list altogether – they’re just not worth the risk!

 Although salt dough sounds edible it definitely is NOT. It is a baking material that is used for making ornaments (often of a newborn child’s foot/hand print or pet’s paw print) and it contains an extremely high salt level, which can be fatal if your pet ingests it. Making salt dough tree decorations or parcel tags is a popular activity this time of year and especially fun to do with the kids, but just ensure that the end product is out of reach of your pooch. 

 Keep electrical cords and electrical light wiring out of your dog’s reach. They can get tangled in wiring and pull the tree down or items on shelves. If they chew the cord, they could suffer from mouth burns an electric shock or even death by electrocution.

 The glistening tinsel and ribbons are tantalizing playthings but if your pup gets their teeth into it, then swallows it, this can cause a blockage in their gastrointestinal tract, which requires surgical removal.

 Other potential hazards include scented oils and candles, which can cause spills, burns and a serious fire hazard, so again place in a safe position and always extinguish candles when you go out.

 

Floral Arrangements

Festive arrangements are beautiful, but the most popular plants can be dangerous to your dog. These include:

 Holly leaves and berries cause severe stomach upset, seizures and can be potentially fatal to dogs.

  Mistletoe contains several substances that are toxic to dogs, causing severe upsets stomachs, breathing problems, sudden & severe drop in blood pressure and potential heart collapse.

 Poinsettia contains a sap that is irritating to the tissues of the mouth and esophagus. If the leaves are ingested, this will often cause nausea and vomiting.

 Amaryllis, Lilies and Daffodils are toxic, especially the bulbs. Even a small amount of plant ingested can cause severe gastrointestinal issues, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, decreased appetite, convulsions and arrhythmia.  

❆ Hibiscus may cause diarrhea

 ❆ Yew tree has toxicityin ALL parts of the plant. Wheningested, it causes drooling, vomiting, weakness, difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, tremors, seizures, life-threatening changes in heart rate and blood pressure, coma and death may be seen.

You may think that popping out for a short while will be fine, because the dogs are well fed and sleeping soundly, but they can be easily awoken by noises outside…and then their curiosity gets the better of them and the games begin!

Please keep them safe and don’t take the chance of leaving them alone in the decked-out areas.

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of festive fun and health!

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

 

 

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Why Deafness in Dogs Shouldn’t be a Death Sentence!

Ok, so deafness is labeled as a “disability” but that does not mean deaf dogs can’t be amazing, loving pets!

Sadly, many breeders and rescue organizations don’t want the “hassle”, or it de-values the pup concerned, or it’s too hard to find someone willing to adopt such a “disadvantaged” dog. Consequently, putting them to sleep seems the easiest option.  

The truth is that, apart from the obvious problem of being deaf, you can expect these furry friends to act in a similar way to any other hearing dog.

The biggest misconceptions about deaf dogs is that they are(1) more likely to be aggressive than a hearing dog because they’re easily startled and (2) they are “hard to train”. However, they are, in reality, 20% less likely to be aggressive and they are a dream to train because they are not distracted by other dogs or noises and therefore more focused on their trainer.

Having said that, adopting a deaf dog is not for everyone. However much a person loves dogs, it takes a huge personal daily commitment to train, socialize and gain the trust of your deaf canine companion. On top of that, extra safety measures are required to keep them safe, both in and outside the home.

There are clearly a few challenges that you will need to overcome, which we will discuss in this article…but suffice to say it’s well worth wthe effort.

Level of Deafness

If your furry friend has a hearing problem then it does not mean that they are totally deaf. Just like us humans, hearing can deteriorate with age. Or, it could be that they are only ableto hear specific frequencies.

Not all dog deafness is permanent and untreatable. It may be possible to resolve the problem to a certain extent or the problem could be a temporary one. The first step will be to identify an underlying cause for the deafness, then the possibility of treatment is considered.

A pooch can suffer from a number of different temporary hearing problems. A lot of dogs get infections in their ears which cause temporary loss or degradation of hearing. Others can suffer from mechanical blockages due to wax in the ear canal.

On a more serious note, a dog experiencing extreme constant noise levels can sometimes suffer from permanent hearing loss. In cases like this there is permanent damage to the middle and inner ear nerve impulses.

Several breeds of dog can suffer from congenital defects which cause hearing loss. When this happens there is nothing that you can do to prevent it. However, if a dog is born deaf then they can’t miss what they’ve never had, so training is often easier than with an older dog that has to change their training method.

Simple Ways to Detect Dog Deafness

If you suspect that your furry friend may be experiencing a hearing loss problem (e.g. they don’t react to the doorbell or dash into the kitchen when they hear food being put in their bowl) then there are some simple things that you can do as an initial test.

With all of these techniques you must be certain that your pooch is unable to see what you are doing so that there are no visual clues. Just sound is what you want to achieve.

Stand behind your pooch and then whistle or clap your hands and note the reaction. When you are doing this be sure that you are not too close to your furry friend as they may be able to detect air movement.
Conduct an easy sound test such as rattling a can with coins in it or jingling your keys.
Go to another room and make noise using a drum or barrel and see if your dog reacts to this.
It is possible that your pooch has a hearing loss problem in just one ear so if you suspect this then you will need to wait for your dog to be in the right position to run the tests.

Be careful to monitor your pooch for the slightest change in ear position or facial expression to signify that they have heard you.

Keep your Veterinarian in the Loop

If you suspect a hearing loss problem then please take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible for an assessment. They will probably run a BAER (brainstem auditory evoked response) test to confirm everything. A BAER test monitors electrical activity in the brain auditory pathways and the inner ear. Getting it checked out early could prevent a more serious ear infection and un-reversable hearing loss.

How to Teach an old/deaf Pooch New Tricks

If your dog is deaf then there is no reason why they will not be (or continue to be) a wonderful and loving companion for you. But you will need to accept that modifying behavior and training are going to be quite a challenge as auditory cues normally play a large part in this.

You now need to shift away from auditory commands and focus on visual commands. Instead of saying “good boy” or “good girl” when your pooch behaves as you want them to you can give them a “thumbs up” instead. If your furry friend does something that you don’t like then shake your head rather than saying “no”.

Use a heavy stomp of the foot on the floor when you need to get your dog’s attention – they can often feel the vibration in the floor.

To avoid startling your dog, gently tap or pet him to announce your entrance or exit from the room.

This will take time and you need to be consistent. If you are going to use a “thumbs up” to confirm good behavior then always use this. The same goes for all of the other signals that you use instead of saying “no”, “down”, “come” and so on.

Protecting Your Deaf Dog

It would be devastating if your furry best friend was knocked down by a vehicle, simply because they couldn’t hear the engine or warning horn, so keep an eye on them and do not let them roam unsupervised. Keep them within the confines of a fenced off area and only let them go outside of this boundary if they are on a leash.

If your pooch is able to hear some frequencies then a dog whistle could work well. You can try using a shrill whistle and then rewarding them if they respond to it. Get a microchip implant for your dog and add a tag that clearly identifies them as being deaf on ALL their collars.

You could also consider adding a bell to their collar so you can quickly establish where they are in the house, especially if you need to leave in an emergency, or if they manage to escape.

It’s clear that deaf dogs require a lot of patience, support, love and understanding and as this is ‘Deaf Dog Awareness Week’, we just wanted to recognize all the dedicated deaf-dog owners, who by-the-way seem to agree that their effort is repaid 10-fold by the devotion they receive from their canine companions.

For more deaf dog training ideas, check out the top tips provided by experienced deaf dog owners at https://deafdogsrock.com/category/training-tips

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

Help Take the Strain and Pain off Your Old Dog’s Joints

Just like humans, as our dogs get older, they get to the point where the mind is willing but the body isn’t quite as able! 

Not surprisingly it’s the joints that take the brunt of it, as they have to support the body 24/7, whether at work, play or relaxing. I know that our glucosamine-chondroitin-MSM based supplement for dogs helps alleviate the pain and increases the flexibility in damaged or arthritic joints.

However, there are other things that I have implemented to help take the strain off my old faithful’s joints and prevent painful accidents that could worsen his condition. I thought you might find it useful too…

If you’ve got an ageing pooch suffering with stiffness or arthritis too, or one that has previously undergone surgery for broken bones or torn ligaments, please check out the top tips below and see if you can help stop your furry best friend suffering in silence.

 

Top Tips to Help Ease Your Dog’s Painful Joints

• Provide a cushioned bed and position away from drafts

Most dogs sleep 12 hours a day.  Ease your pet’s pain by adding extra fleece or blankets to their bed, and be sure to keep their bed away from windows and other drafty locations.

Exercise for shorter periods but at regular intervals

Exercise is so important to break the vicious circle of joint decay.Pain reduces mobility, which leads to muscle wastage and weakening of the surrounding ligaments and tendons; the joints then become less stable, leading to more wear & tear, more joint decay and more pain.Exercise is therefore essential to keep the muscle tone necessary to support the joints, prevent the decay from worsening and lessen their pain.

Keep your Fido active but take care not to over exert!

Apply a warm water bottle for 15 minutes twice a day

This relaxes the muscles and also promotes blood circulation for faster healing. You can easily tuck one under their blanket when they go to rest after exercise and believe me, dogs love this comfort just as much as us humans!

Help them with obstacles and heights

So they can continue to enjoy their exercise and woodland walks, why not treat them to a harness coat with a strong handle
so you can help them out of water, lift them over obstacles like fallen trees, in and out of vehicles and up steps, without putting pressure on painful joints. Also, attaching the leash to the harness provides more control, helps to stop them pulling and relieves strain on their neck. Another great bonus is the harness will also help keep them dry, warm and promote good blood circulation at the same time! 

Jumping up onto porches or even into the car trunk can be even more difficult and painful, as they put more weight on their hind legs. For larger dogs, lifting them up may not be an option if they are too heavy for you (or you may be suffering from aching joints yourself!) In this case a ramp is an ideal solution to provide a gradient they can manage and help you at the same time.

Provide traction on slippery floors

Dogs, especially those with hip dysplasia, often have a hard time on slippery floors, such as vinyl, polished wood, tile or laminate, so lay carpet down or put a pet gate to keep them out of the area.
If your dog doesn’t travel in a crate, then you can install carpet or a non-slip liner on the back seat or cargo area of larger vehicles, SUVs, station wagons and vans, to provide better stability for your 4-legged friend and prevent them from being thrown around when you’re on the move.

Keep your dog out of damp, chilly weather

It’s not actually the cold and wet that causes the problem but fluid pressure within the joint. It’s the drop in atmospheric pressure that allows the joint tissues to swell, causing stiffness and discomfort. It’s not always possible to walk your dog at the most favorable times of the day, so just make sure they are kept warm or maybe consider indoor alternatives.

Hydrotherapy

Swimming allows the natural movement of muscles and joints in a buoyant environment and helps to build muscle around diseased joints, which in turn relieves the pressure on them when walking or running. The water’s warmer too so blood vessels can do their job properly, supplying healing nutrients to muscles and skin. It certainly helped my dog’s recovery from a cruciate ligament operation and it’s also a fun way to help a slightly porky pooch lose weight!

Important
: Ask your veterinarian about your dog’s suitability for hydrotherapy, just in case there’s a valid reason why they should not swim.

Massage

Massage the muscles around your dog’s hip joints, gently rubbing in a circular motion with your fingertips for ten minutes at the most. BUT pay attention to your companion’s response – If massage seems to irritate your dog’s hip, don’t continue.

Healthy Balanced Diet

Weight control is very important as extra weight puts more stress on the joints. A FidoActive supplement nugget can be given as a healthy treat instead of their normal titbits, so your best friend won’t think they’re in the ‘dog house’!

Positioning of feeding stations

Dog arthritis can be prevalent in any major joint; if your dog has shoulder or neck pain, raise up their water and food dishes so they don’t have to bend over.

Regular Check-ups

Remember to schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian – not all conditions are visible to the eye in the early stages and you could save your best friend a lot of unnecessary pain.

I hope you find some of these tips help you to manage your dog’s pain and help them enjoy a happier and more active life.

Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health – always!

 

 

 

Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team

For more information about FidoActive and our all-natural supplements visit www.fidoactive.com or visit Amazon

 

 

 

 

FidoActive donates a portion of sales revenue to charitable organisations in the USA for animal rescue and rehoming. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites, which goes towards helping these incredibly worthy causes too.